i3 | December 29, 2020

Future of Work — The Shift to Skills Based Hiring

Jackie Black

As we enter the new year, getting people back to work and aligned with in-demand skills are essential undertakings for our nation. Tech companies can lead the way by focusing on hiring practices to meet the current demand for skilled workers to fill our nation’s skills gap and opportunity gap as we recover.

72% of respondents say they will hire employees who meet their skill requirements, regardless of education level.

CTA’s fourth annual Future of Work Study surveyed tech industry leaders on current and future workforce issues. Despite the workforce disruption from the pandemic, survey results continue to show that technology companies, both large and small, need more employees with technical skills. From data analytics to software development and engineering, 75% of respondents said it is difficult to find candidates with the right skills and abilities today, and 80% said they will need more employees with technical skills in the future.

With such a great demand to fill, tech companies are rethinking education hiring requirements. More than half of respondents said the company they work for has never had, or no longer has, a policy requiring a college degree. More, a significant 72% of respondents say they will hire employees who meet their skill requirements, regardless of education level. Hiring for skills — and not just a degree — has proven success in training models such as apprenticeships.

What Makes a Good Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are one of the most successful types of work-based learning and can help revitalize the U.S. workforce by providing access to training and employment opportunities for those without advanced degrees through an “earn and learn” training approach. And apprenticeships in the tech sector are growing. CTA’s Apprenticeship Coalition has helped launch new apprenticeships with companies such as Bosch and Alarm.com. Study results show tech employers recognize the benefit of hiring from such talent pools with 24% of respondents saying they will hire more from train-to-hire programs such as apprenticeships and boot camps.

Closing the Skills Gap

According to Opportunity@Work, there are 71 million workers who do not have a college degree, but have been skilled through alternative routes. As we recover from the pandemic and consider the tens of millions left unemployed, it will be crucial for the tech industry to continue to hire based on skills. The furloughed hotel front desk worker has the customer service skills to be an IT support specialist. The unemployed bar manager has the leadership skills to be a project manager.

With high demand for these skills, and not enough workers to fill them, the skills gap is still here — despite the pandemic. But if industry leaders continue to hire from diverse workforce pipelines based on skills, not degrees, and provide the relevant training opportunities, the industry can access more talent and be at the forefront of solving our nation’s skills and opportunity gap.

To learn more about future of work trends including apprenticeships, join us at CES 2021.

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